Vintage-Inspired Hairstyles You Can Do In Five Minutes

All you need are some bobby pins and my secret weapon.
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All you need are some bobby pins and my secret weapon.

Besides a stint in preschool when I had a chin-length bob, I’ve had long hair my entire life. It’s good hair--easy to manage, looks good when air-dried--but sometimes I get really bored with it and just want to hack it all off.

Since I’m not quite ready for that, I figured out some easy, vintage-inspired hairstyles to keep things interesting. I don’t like to dillydally in front of the mirror all morning, so five minutes is all I like to spend on a hairstyle. (People don’t believe me when I tell them these looks can be completed so quickly, but I guarantee that with some practice, it’s totally possible.) Along with red lips, these voluminous, twisty hairstyles have become part of my signature look.

The Come Hither Front Twist

front twist vintage hairstyle

Hey, guys. I’m ready for my close-up.

1. Gather the top part of your hair and pull it back toward the crown of your head. You don’t want to do a full “half up, half down” style here; it’s a little less than that. To gauge how much hair to gather, find your eyebrow arches and then move directly up to your hairline on each side of your face. That’s where you should part the hair.

2. Twist the top part of the hair 1-2 rotations.

twisted hair front

You don’t need to twist your hair all the way down like I did here -- I just did it so you can see the base twist more clearly.

3. Push the twist down so it’s flush with your scalp and slide it forward. The twist itself should be around your hairline. A little pouf will naturally form in front of it. Secure the twist in place by pushing pins into it.

You can stop here if you want to wear your hair down, which I often do

front hair pinned

The great pin-up.

4. To create an updo, roll the remaining hair on each side of your head up and back behind your ears. Push each roll forward a little bit before pinning so you get some volume.

long brown hair

Everybody, get your roll on.

5. Gather the hair in back into a bun and secure with pins.

The Sophisticated Side Twist

side twist hairstyle

I don’t have the balls to get a pixie cut (yet), so this is the next best thing.

1. Starting at your ears, gather the top half of your hair up.

2. Pull it back toward the crown of your head and then slightly to one side, so the tail is about two inches above that ear.

3. Twist the base of the tail forward 1-2 rotations.

half top ponytail

Or you could just stop here and have a swirly side pony.

4. Push the twist down to your scalp, so it’s right above your ear. Slide it 1-2 inches toward the opposite side of your head. The farther you slide it, the more volume your twist will have. Secure the base of the twist by pushing pins into it.

twisting front of hair

Who knew a little twist could create so much volume?

5. Gather the rest of your hair into a back or side bun and secure with pins.

The Gibson Girl Top Knot

victorian top knot

Sexy Victorian or kooky librarian? You choose.


1. Flip your head upside down and pull your hair into a high ponytail.

2. Slide your hair band up toward the ceiling a few inches, so the base of the ponytail is now suspended above your head a few inches. 

loose high ponytail

The farther you pull the base away from your scalp, the more volume you’ll get in the final look.

3. Bring the ponytail base directly down, so it’s sitting on the top middle of your head. Shift it 1-2 inches to one side, so it’s slightly off center. 

loose side ponytail

This style is the lazy girl’s BFF.

4. Roll the tail around into a bun and secure it with pins.

5. Pull a small tendril of hair down in front of each ear to add a little romance. 

A Few Final Tips     

  • These styles are trickier on fine hair, but I’ve learned from trying them on friends that the key is figuring out what twists and pins work best for your hair type. For example, if you have thick, heavy hair, jumbo bobby pins might work better than regular ones; if have curls, wire U-pins might do the job. I use a combination of all three, depending on how my hair’s behaving that day.
  • Just-washed hair can be slippery, so I recommend trying these styles on day-old hair or, at the very least, adding some product (hairspray or styling crème) to add texture before you start. 
  • To pump up the volume, skip backcombing (which damages your hair over time) and use my secret weapon: Schwartzkopf OSIS+ Dust It, which a hairstylist clued me into a few years ago. A very light sprinkle at the roots instantly adds some grip and volume to any hairstyle, no matter what hair type you’re working with.
  • I’ve found that if you think of your hair as a sculpture (no, seriously), the results are always better. Just see how your hair wants to move at that particular time--don’t force it into a shape it doesn’t want to go into--and you’ll always end up with a unique style that looks stellar on you. 
  • Are there any vintage-inspired hairstyles you wear on a daily basis? Can you recommend any for short hair?
  • What are some products you love that are geared toward creating vintage-updos?
  • Have you tried any of these styles? Do you have any tips to make the process easier for certain hair types?